Main definitions of wag in English

: wag1WAG2wag3WAG4

wag1

verb

  • 1(especially with reference to an animal's tail) move or cause to move rapidly to and fro:

    [no object] ‘his tail began to wag’
    [with object] ‘the dog went out, wagging its tail’
    • ‘Then I come back, and the tails wag so hard that it begins with the middle of their dog bodies.’
    • ‘At the sight of us, they all begin to bark, tails wagging in instant happiness.’
    • ‘The climbers soon ski up to us, red plastic sleds wagging like tails behind them.’
    • ‘Poppy's tail was wagging at a rate only expected at top international competition level, so I knew that whatever it was, it was an animal.’
    • ‘I collect the morning paper and my two mutts greet me, their tails wagging back and forth in a frenzy.’
    • ‘And in the meantime, Chuck is going bananas, his tail wagging like a crazed propeller, his face the most precious combination of anticipation and curiosity.’
    • ‘Kero got up, tongue hanging from the side of his mouth as he pranced over to her, his small tail wagging back and forth rapidly.’
    • ‘When my eyes meet hers, her tail starts to wag excitedly, but she dares not move her body in fear of spoiling the moment.’
    • ‘Her tail began to wag as he approached, and he cautiously dropped onto one knee before reaching to untangle her leash.’
    • ‘And now Fizz is about to set tails wagging having been nominated for the Woman's Best Friend award in a canine competition.’
    • ‘You can see quite clearly when the puppy is wagging its tail.’
    • ‘Her tail wagged rapidly as she licked Kourin's face.’
    • ‘Apparently tails are wagging over the show, as it has been renewed for another season.’
    • ‘Family dog greets me with tail wagging manically.’
    • ‘Lucy was waiting by the door, tail wagging as always when we got home.’
    • ‘His tail began to wag as I scratched behind his ears.’
    • ‘The Carmichaels walk down the path with three other dogs, their skeletal tails wagging furiously.’
    • ‘The puppy sniffed his hand cautiously and immediately his tail began to wag.’
    • ‘Rex bounded back the way he had come, tail wagging.’
    • ‘Diane barks and wags her bushy tail in happiness as she jumps on Louis Crawford's lap in the van and she licks his face with love and a little slobber.’
    swing, sway, shake, move to and fro, swish, switch, quiver, twitch, flutter, waver, whip
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object] Move (an upwards-pointing finger) from side to side to signify disapproval:
      ‘she wagged a finger at Elinor’
      • ‘Instead wag a disapproving finger at the bull run in commodities.’
      • ‘Siya pretended to be disappointed and wagged her finger at Mel.’
      • ‘The mother started screaming, and moving towards me, she was wagging her finger in my face and I thought she was going to hit me.’
      • ‘In friendly jest, one of the waiters came up to her and wagged his finger gently, indicating that the establishment did not approve.’
      • ‘He wagged his finger at her in mock disapproval.’
      • ‘People within banks have access to lots of information, and those who wagged the finger at Mr Soden last year should hope they don't make enemies within their bank.’
      • ‘News outlets shake their heads and wag a disappointed finger when violence erupts in our streets yet the entertainment industry uses those same elements as a mainstay for its Friday night feature.’
      • ‘I can't recall ever seeing so many people wagging a figurative finger at Tom as they have in response to his call for the resignation of Harvard president Larry Summers.’
      • ‘He even went to Wall Street to wag his finger at corporate wrongdoers, calling for legislative reform.’
      • ‘"Not just once," said Palios, wagging a finger at Barry.’
      • ‘I am wagging my finger in your direction Democrats and Republicans!’
      • ‘He was shown gesticulating toward the judge, and at times wagging his finger angrily.’
      • ‘He made a flourished bow and then humorously wagged his finger in response to her question.’
      • ‘‘Suit yourself,’ Howie said, wagging a finger in admonishment as he moved away.’
      • ‘Angry and wagging his finger at presenter Jon Snow, Mr Campbell tears into a ‘fundamental attack upon the integrity of the government’.’
      • ‘Friedman wags an accusing finger at subsidised theatres such as the National.’
      • ‘I left people with a little something to think about, without wagging my fingers or quoting Leviticus.’
      • ‘‘That's not how you behave on the dancefloor,’ she says, wagging her finger.’
      • ‘When I first told them a couple of years ago, I really expected my grandma to wag her finger at me.’
      • ‘The others looked at him, and he raised one hand to wag an index finger under Kaeritha's nose.’
      shake, wave, waggle, wiggle, wobble, flourish, brandish, raise
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Main definitions of wag in English

: wag1WAG2wag3WAG4

WAG2

noun

informal
  • A wife or girlfriend of a sports player, typically characterized as having a high media profile and a glamorous lifestyle.

noun

  • A single rapid movement from side to side:

    ‘a chirpy wag of the head’
    • ‘But the crowning glory is when the pointer turns around and gives an approving look and tail wag before he trots off to pick up another bird.’
    • ‘No matter how many Chechens may be slaughtered, we content ourselves with a polite wag of the finger, shrug our shoulders, then concede that massacre is an internal matter.’
    • ‘She looked up at him sadly, acknowledging his gesture with a half wag of her tail.’
    • ‘Nikko broke the silence with a small whine and a wag of his tail.’
    swing, sway, shake, swish, switch, quiver, twitch, flutter, waver, whip, oscillation, vibration, undulation
    waggle, wiggle, wobble, wave, shake, flourish, brandish
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • how the world wags

    • dated How affairs are going or being conducted:

      ‘there is no very good theory of how the world wags these days’
      • ‘I have a vivid recollection of having in an evil or unguarded moment promised to do that which my soul abhors - to write a letter informing you how the world wags here below.’
      • ‘And because we know that this is how the world wags - that even the least networked of us is connected to everyone if he is connected to at least one other person.’
      • ‘I want you to be curious about how the world wags its tail in different lands.’
      • ‘The second stage knows how the world wags but not why.’
      • ‘If you want to know how the world wags, and who's wagging it, here's your answer.’
  • the tail wags the dog

    • The less important or subsidiary factor, person, or thing dominates a situation; the usual roles are reversed:

      ‘the financing system is becoming the tail that wags the dog’
      • ‘When ‘the truth’ becomes irrelevant, and perception is all that matters, then the tail wags the dog, and (as you know) that ain't quite right.’
      • ‘Borges talks about not being able to tell whether the tail wags the dog or the dog wags the tail in his own writing of poetry and stories.’
      • ‘But, they persist, peddling garbage, contradicting themselves in public (as in the example I posted), asserting the illogical (e.g. that the tail wags the dog) without evidentiary support from real sources, etc.’
      • ‘What are some of the most common ways in which the tail wags the dog in financial aid?’
      • ‘How frightening it is when the tail wags the dog.’
      • ‘He must have gained a profound understanding of that old saw ‘when the tail wags the dog’ in his role as program manager for the project.’
      • ‘This tail wags the dog, dominates university life for students and staff.’
      • ‘But he says that the conclusion as to whether the tail wags the dog or the reverse may be less straightforward.’
      • ‘The goal of developing the economy has yielded to the states looking to simply alleviate their budget concerns; the tail wags the dog.’
      • ‘Even asking whether The Superstar Effect or TLT will win in a fight is like asking whether the dog wags the tail or the tail wags the dog.’
  • tongues wag

    • Used to convey that people are gossiping about someone or something:

      ‘this is a small island and tongues are beginning to wag’
      • ‘In 1866 Cosima moved in with Wagner on Lake Lucerne, and they let the tongues wag.’
      • ‘Helen Hunt plays the temptress who sets tongues wagging.’
      • ‘His absence from the most prestigious festival in the film industry calendar was guaranteed to get the tongues wagging.’
      • ‘I worry endlessly about what other people think about me; I didn't want the tongues to start wagging.’
      • ‘‘The New York Times’ is reporting that tongues are wagging in Hollywood about whether he is actually harming his career.’
      • ‘The singer's unusual haircuts have set tongues wagging since his band shot to fame with the hit single Why Does it Always Rain on Me?’
      • ‘Tongues are wagging in art circles following the announcement that Kathryn Smith is the Standard Bank Young Artist for 2004.’
      • ‘This extraordinary sounding record had tongues wagging all over the place.’
      • ‘Needless to say, tongues begin to wag about Barrie's behaviour.’
      • ‘So far that hasn't happened, but Kane's deliberately low profile to date has set tongues wagging.’

Origin

Middle English (as a verb): from the Germanic base of Old English wagian ‘to sway’<br>early 21st century: from the acronym WAGs wives and girlfriends.

Pronunciation:

wag

/waɡ/

Main definitions of wag in English

: wag1WAG2wag3WAG4

wag3

noun

dated
  • A person who makes jokes:

    ‘one wag shouted, ‘On that count you've got about three supporters!’’
    • ‘Some wags joked that the ‘9 on Nine’ panel looked like some sort of reality television show.’
    • ‘Janey was sure that it was a joke by the wags in the Forensics labs - well reasonably sure.’
    • ‘One wag even implored referee Iain Heard to blow for full-time… at half-time.’
    • ‘At one point a wag from the crowd shouted ‘Is there a footballer in the house?’’
    • ‘The good thing about gallows humour is no matter how bad things get you can always find some wag ready to crack a joke.’
    humorist, comedian, comedienne, comic, funny man, funny woman, wit, jester
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Main definitions of wag in English

: wag1WAG2wag3WAG4

WAG4

  • Gambia (international vehicle registration).

verb

[WITH OBJECT]Australian, NZ
informal
  • Play truant from (school).

    • ‘The next day, after another sleepless night of coughing, we both decided to wag work and uni.’
    • ‘We got caught out when we were wagging school, a police officer had caught us in town.’
    • ‘Many years ago, when I would wag school occasionally, I'd enter the chat rooms on MSN.’
    • ‘Children wagged school and chased each other through the flooded streets, while their parents headed to the centre of town to see the damage.’
    • ‘And we're not just talking about wagging a day here or there.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (denoting a young man or mischievous boy, also used as a term of endearment to an infant): probably from obsolete waghalter ‘person likely to be hanged’(see wag, halter). The verb dates from the late 20th century<br>from West Africa Gambia.

Pronunciation:

wag

/waɡ/